Bhatti, S and Bateman, Martin
Effects of on-path buffering on TCP fairness.
In: The IEEE 23rd International Conference on Advanced Information Networking and Applications (AINA-09), 26-29 May 2009, Bradford, UK.
Keeping router buffering low helps minimise delay (as well as keeping router costs low), whilst increasing buffering minimises loss. This is a trade-off for which there is no single `correct' solution. In order to maintain effective throughput for TCP, whilst minimising router buffer requirements, current results suggest that different amounts of buffering are needed depending on the position in the network (e.g., edge or core), and on the relative capacity of ingress and egress links to a router. However, today we have several different variants of TCP in use, and each is designed to have different behaviour especially on paths with high bandwidth-delay product (BDP) values. We use a testbed to investigate the effects of different amounts of `on-path' buffering (OPB) on the performance of four TCP variants - TCP NewReno, BIC, CUBIC, and Compound TCP - over various end-to-end round-trip-times (RTTs). Specifically, we consider how the variants respond when competing for bandwidth on a bottleneck link. We find that overall performance depends on both the RTT and the OPB provision, and that the observed behaviour is not consistent across the range of RTT and OPB values.